As drone enthusiasts and content creators eagerly awaited the arrival of the DJI Air 3, rumors and leaks only fueled the excitement further. Now that it’s finally here, we’ve had the privilege of putting this advanced flying machine through its paces. In this comprehensive review, we’ll delve into its design, performance, features, and image quality, to give you a detailed insight into whether the DJI Air 3 lives up to the hype.
DJI, the industry leader in drone technology, has consistently pushed the boundaries of innovation with each new release. The DJI Air 3 is no exception, promising to revolutionize the way we capture stunning visuals from above.
The new DJI drone, which costs $1,099 and up, includes two cameras, 46 minutes of battery life, enhanced communication with Ocusync 4, a brand-new controller, and a brand-new look similar to the Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Pro that were just introduced.
The dual-camera Air 3 captures astonishing details of every scene with 48MP photographs and 4K HDR video, making it ideal for content creation.
DJI Air 3
DJI Air 3 Key Features
The DJI Air 3 Drone’s main features are as follows:
- Up to 46 minutes of flight time
- Dual-camera 48MP photos
- Wide-angle and Medium Telephoto
- Dual-camera 4k/60fps HDR videos
- New controllers: DJI RC 2 and DJI RC-N2
- Obstacle sensing in all directions for O4 HD video transmission
- Intelligent shooting features with 2.7K vertical shooting
Design and Controller
True to DJI’s signature style, the DJI Air 3 boasts a sleek and stylish design that exudes elegance and durability. With an optimized body structure and foldable arms, the drone is remarkably portable, making it an ideal companion for adventurers and travelers who seek a drone that easily fits into their backpacks. Weighing in at just under 720 grams, the DJI Air 3 strikes the perfect balance between portability and stability.
A 4,241mAh battery powering the Air 3 accounts for a third of the drone’s 267g weight. It charges in 60 minutes and boasts a very generous 46 minutes of flight time, which is 48% longer than that of its predecessor, the DJI Air 2S.
The Air 3 has a design that is remarkably similar to other foldable DJI products, especially older Mavics with their folding arms. Its big dual camera, which protrudes from the main body, is what makes it distinctive. The drone’s folded dimensions are 207 x 100.5 x 91.1mm and its unfolded dimensions are 258.8 x 326 x 105.8mm.
The DJI RC 2 and DJI RC-N2, two controllers that are now available, are both enhancements of their respective predecessors, the DJI RC and the DJI RC-N1.
For anyone who has used the DJI RC, the DJI RC 2 is a particularly welcome improvement, especially in terms of range and signal. The DJI RC 2 has external antennae, which significantly expands the DJI RC’s signal range, which users of that model have previously complained about. In dense forest, You’ll bow be able to fly the Air 3 with the DJI RC 2 with much greater signal and range compared to the DJI RC.
Performance and Flight Capabilities
DJI is renowned for its flight precision, and the DJI Air 3 takes it up a notch. Equipped with cutting-edge flight sensors and obstacle avoidance technology, this drone effortlessly navigates through complex environments, ensuring smooth and safe flights. With upgraded flight algorithms and a top speed of 60 km/h, the Air 3 offers an exhilarating flying experience for both beginners and experienced pilots alike.
Precision hovering is now possible with all DJI drones thanks to GPS positioning connected to approximately twenty satellites. Flying in challenging conditions is worry-free thanks to DJI’s Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 5.0 and Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, a first for the Air series. When collision avoidance is activated, the Air 3 can either brake or avoid obstacles. When impediments are recognized in more complicated surroundings, the bypass setting gives a “Nifty” option to facilitate smoother flight; however, the tradeoff of this smoother setting is a higher likelihood of collision.
As with previous DJI drones, three flight modes are available: If you’re chasing a moving target, Sport mode’s top speed of 42.5 mph with collision avoidance off is helpful. Normal mode is slower with collision avoidance on, and Cine mode has the slowest flight speed with reduced control sensitivity for more precise maneuvering and less hectic, more cinematic footage.
The Air 3’s wind-speed resistance is impressive. I have flown it in 30 mph winds and managed to obtain stable footage despite the fact that it is advertised to travel at just under 27 mph. Its greatest advantage over a less expensive sub-250g drone like the Mini 3 Pro may be this, which also has outstanding wind resistance for a small drone.
Camera and Image/Video Quality
At the heart of the DJI Air 3 is a powerful camera that opens up a world of creative possibilities. Boasting a 1-inch CMOS sensor and the ability to shoot 4K videos at 60 frames per second, the Air 3 delivers breathtakingly sharp and detailed footage. The addition of a mechanical shutter eliminates rolling shutter distortions, while the improved low-light capabilities allow for exceptional performance in challenging lighting conditions.
Two 1/1.3-inch CMOS-based cameras are available on the DJI Air 3. One has a 3x zoom and the other is an equivalent wide-angle 24mm and medium-telephoto 70mm lens.
The fixed aperture of both lenses—f/1.7 for the wide-angle and f/2.8 for the medium telephoto—is an important factor to take into account. If all you do is take pictures, it will work just fine, but if you want to use your camera for videography, you’ll need to be ready to swap out your ND filters as often as the light changes, which quickly becomes frustrating and defeats the purpose of the 46-minute battery life.
Both cameras provide all the standard photography modes, such as Single Shot, Burst Shooting, AEB, and Timed, and can take 12MP or 48MP photographs in raw or JPEG. Both cameras can record video in 2.7K vertically at up to 60 fps, FHD horizontally at up to 200 fps, and 4K up to 100 fps.
Whether you’re a professional photographer or a vlogger looking to up your content game, the DJI Air 3’s camera will undoubtedly impress.
One of the standout features of the DJI Air 3 is its array of intelligent flight modes. From ActiveTrack 4.0, which allows the drone to automatically track subjects with unmatched accuracy, to Point of Interest (POI) 3.0, where you can capture captivating shots by circling around a specific object, these intelligent features make capturing cinematic shots a breeze. Additionally, the Smart Return to Home function ensures the drone can return safely even in challenging conditions.
The Air 3’s Advanced Return to Home feature scans up to 200 meters to determine the safest route to its takeoff point for further safety, while AirSense ADS-B alerts pilots of neighbouring aircraft and helicopters. The Air 3 makes use of the most recent DJI 04 transmission technology, which can send a live 1080p/60fps broadcast up to 20km away (in the US, up to 10km away in other locations, such as Europe). In order to increase transmission performance for European customers, a 5.1GHz frequency band has been added.
Flight features include Focus Track for both cameras, which maintains the subject in the center of the frame, Quickshots (a series of creative camera movements), while video modes include 2.7K vertical shooting useful for social media, Mastershots (generates fast effortless cinematic footage), Night Mode for low-light environments, Hyperlapse (4K horizontal / 2.7K vertical), Slow Motion up to 100fps at 4K, Smartphoto 3.0, QuickTransfer, Lightcut (one-tap video editing), and more.
DJI Air 3 Accessories
DJI Air 3 Battery Charging Hub
DJI Air 3 Wide-angle Lens
DJI Air 3 ND Filters Set
DJI 100W USB-C Power Adapter
DJI Air 3 Propeller Guard
DJI 65W Car Charger
The DJI Air 3 is a masterpiece of drone engineering that sets a new benchmark for aerial photography and videography. With its blend of portability, intelligent features, and outstanding camera capabilities, it’s a game-changer for enthusiasts and professionals alike. Whether you’re a content creator, an outdoor adventurer, or simply seeking to explore the world from a different perspective, the DJI Air 3 is ready to elevate your aerial photography to new heights.
While some people might dismiss the device since it doesn’t have a 1″ sensor like the Air 2S, my imagery and the imagery of many other reviewers shows that this just isn’t a valid argument in the real world. Even at resolutions less than 5K, the images produced by the device is very impressive and, in most of my shots, on par with the DJI Mavic 3 Pro (and occasionally even better). As I mentioned previously, imaging pipeline technology is always evolving. And what would have been outstanding two to three years ago is now commonplace.
My concerns with this unit center on the usual lack of significant advancement on the ActiveTrack front. Yes, it has ActiveTrack 5.0, but the Mavic 3 already had that when it was released 1.5 years ago. And it didn’t really change much from earlier drones either. The Air 3 lacks a vertically rotating gimbal, while the Mini 3 Pro does. If you’re shooting for clients in 2023, they’re going to want vertical (portrait) footage whether you like it or not, and this device puts you at a disadvantage versus the Mini 3 Pro in that area.